Nil nisi etc

Americans can really be funny about reporters:

The Washington Post has suspended a journalist after she tweeted about Kobe Bryant’s historical sexual assault case shortly after the basketball player and his daughter died in a helicopter crash.

Felicia Sonmez was put on leave after posting a link to an article about the 2003 rape allegation against the former LA Lakers player, with the newspaper saying her “poor judgment” in sharing the story had undermined the work of her colleagues.

The incident raises questions about how to deal with the media legacies of much-lauded individuals and which aspects of their lives to highlight in the immediate aftermath of their deaths.

But we know the answer to this. Nil nisi etc. We at least let the body cool – bad taste there Worstall – before pointing out the flaws. More traditionally, the dead are perfection until the coffin’s in the ground, that’s when we’re allowed to start pissing into the grave.

There are exceptions, true, such as after a good hanging but that is the general rule. Simply good manners. And she’s not shown any, therefore the suspension.

14 thoughts on “Nil nisi etc”

  1. I had never even heard of Kobe Bryant but having seen some headlines on the internet I naturally assumed this man was a saint and a business genius. Turns out he might have been a rapist. What a shock! Similarshockasfindingoutsome poor Grenfell victims were scammers and hoaxers. How can this be?

  2. Good. Let the cheerleaders of cancel culture and media hysteria be the first to be hanged under their own rules.

  3. The case was mentioned on R4 yesterday too.

    The context was something like “But Kobe Bryant was no angel either. He was accused of a sexual assault but the case was dropped…”

    The casual implication was that OF COURSE he was guilty. Mrs Doyle and I shouted at the vicarage radio – but then that’s quite common with R4.

  4. Bryant was on record as saying he felt the encounter was consensual but accepted that the woman did not see it that way. Goodness knows where that would have left him had it gone to court, though presumably his lawyers would have told him to shut his mouth before saying something like that.

    I don’t know about nil nisi, never been a fan of hagiography even when time-limited. If H. Weinstein dropped dead tomorrow, the media coverage would focus on him primarily as an alleged sex abuser and only secondarily for his role in the entertainment industry. The latter maybe featuring primarily as an explanation for how come he was able to commit the former, even if a devil’s advocate might make a case that objectively his influence in cinema affected more people and was the weightier of his two legacies to the world. In the Anglo-Saxon world that kind of heresy would involve sticking one’s head firmly above the parapet, but in France it seems pretty standard to cut enormous amounts of slack to figures of “culture”.

    For Bryant, consensus appears to be that his stellar sporting career outweighs the allegations against him, to the point they are essentially negligible. But if his basketball career had faltered, I wonder whether those allegations would have featured more strongly in the (by hypothesis, much quieter) media narrative. My point isn’t so much the truth or falsity of the alterations, but whether (in the Anglo-Saxon world at least, but I imagine this is quite universal) the sporting gods get cut an unusual amount of slack compared to other people. Certainly the moral calculus looks rather ropey, as there doesn’t seem to be any inherent goodness in the ability to outperform in sports.

  5. I think what it proves is that black beats woman (arf arf in a Chris Brown style) in victimhood poker.

    If a much loved white sportsman died similarly, then any historic accusations of rape would be fair game and plastered all over the media, without any backlash whatsoever.

  6. allthegoodnamesaretaken

    Slightly different conclusions being drawn on Instapundit:

    “It was the third tweet that showed her email inbox that landed her in hot water with the company, in part because it contained the purported full names of those who sent her an email, according to a Washington Post employee who spoke with The Desk on condition of anonymity.”


    “Screaming RAPIST for everyone to see in the city of Los Angeles, while the wreckage is still burning is how you lose thousands of subscribers in that city.”

  7. Actually, it would be better if you included the adjective in the latin tag – nil nisi bonum, to make it clear that it means “nothing but good”. The de mortuis bit is not really crucial to the meaning given the context

  8. Mrs Thatcher’s corpse was still warm when Paul Mason and co declared their interest in urinating on her grave

  9. Dennis, Tiresome Denizen of Central Ohio

    Ah, liberal racism…

    Watching all the white women jump up in 2020 and say, in effect, “Hang the negro, Daddy, he looked at me so dirty.”

    It’s 1920 in Georgia all over again.

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    150 of her colleagues has signed a petition for her to be reinstated cos they sympathise with her more than his family.

    Mrs Thatcher’s corpse was still warm when Paul Mason and co declared their interest in urinating on her grave

    They declared they were going to do that well before she died.

  11. @Jussi


    imo UK News: inordinate amount of air time on Kobe Bryant (Who?) death; isit cuz he iz black?

    Related: Barrister “Black man good” “White Cop Bad”
    Copper should have just died rather than defend himself

    PC Outten suffered horrific injuries to his skull and arms but still managed to bring down his assailant with a Taser

  12. The case was mentioned on R4 yesterday too.

    Amusingly from the same broadcaster which illustrated their report of his death with basketball footage of LeBron James, because they all look alike, don’t they? The BBC were forced to issue a grovelling apology, but it hasn’t made them dismount their moral high horse though.

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